They never stop moving. You’re hard pressed to get them to sit down for more than five minutes while you’re teaching. Congratulations! You are the parent of a “hands- on” learner.
A hands on, or tactile learner, is someone who learns best through movement. Some examples of movement-oriented learning would be: drawing, cooking, construction, or mechanics. A hands- on learner can sometimes be confused with someone who has Attention Deficit Disorder. Although there is a fine line between a tactile learner and someone with A.D.D., there are some distinct differences between the two.
A person living with A.D.D. tends to exhibit some of the characteristics of a tactile learner, such as impulsive behavior, and the tendency to learn best by manipulating objects or interacting with the world around them. However, a person with Attention Deficit Disorder will also exhibits signs of withdrawal at times, such as day dreaming, or “zoning out”. They also have the tendency to procrastinate, or not finish what they start.
Teaching a hands- on learner can be a very daunting task, but armed with the right tools, it can also create a very exciting and fun learning experience. Subjects that you would normally teach your child, such as math, reading, science, or social studies, have a multitude of hands on activities that can be incorporated into your homeschool lesson plans.
Some examples of hands-on activities include:
- Math– Using an abacus, counting with blocks or utilizing a scale can be both beneficial and fun learning activities for teaching mathematics to your child. Click here for more ideas for hands-on math activities.
- Reading– Putting on plays or doing an art project are great exercises to promote hands- on learning in your classroom. Creating a balance between studying and play has been shown to help improve reading skills in young children. More information on tactile learning activities for young readers can be found here.
- Science– Teaching science effectively often requires the use of hands on techniques. Although at first this can seem like an overwhelming premise, there is a wealth of websites dedicated to simple, hands on experiments that can be done at home. Most of the time, with a little research, you can find a number of science projects to complement the area of science you are currently studying. A couple of examples of websites dedicated to science experiments can be found here and here.
- Social Studies– Hands-on activities related to social studies can be fun for the whole family. Whether it is volunteering (such as at your local food bank) or going to a museum, being active with your social studies projects can help your child discover the world around them. For some great ideas for social studies projects, please click here.
Teaching a tactile learner can be a frustrating experience for some parents. However, if you learn to implement some hands-on activities into your lesson plans, both you and your little mover and shaker will be enjoying learning in no time.